I’m Lauriann Wakefield and I can’t believe I get to live here!
I think it all the time.
Eleven years ago I moved to a rolling hill in view of the beautiful Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border. If you’ve been there you’ll understand the magic of this place, and the beauty of the mountains and the brilliant blue water. Locals call it a little piece of heaven, and I’ve found that it is a place that feeds my soul.
Professionally, I am a family photographer and I meet families vacationing at Bear Lake all year round. But painting and being an artist, have always been a part of what I’m passionate about. I’ve had extensive art training, from when I was very young through to my college years at BYU.
Somewhere between college and career I lost that need to paint. Life was busy in the world of being a video game animator and hours spent on the computer. Traditional art, was benched. If I was a writer, I would have had writers block. I needed new inspiration, new subject matter, but for years nothing motivated me to stir the paint.
Till Bear Lake.
When did you start painting?
Before I could really appreciate them, I had oil painting lessons when I was young from a very talented painter, Stuart Heimdall. I always wanted to get back into painting oils. I thought it would be when I was much much older. I had it all planned out. I was going to be that eccentric lady, with a handful of wind chimes on my porch, with the luxury of painting all day in my messy studio.
Now when I drive around Bear Lake and the surrounding mountains, I see paintings. I see colors and I see how I would put them on canvas. It’s as if the land is begging me to paint it. I’ve never had that experience before. So I listened to the wind, drove to the nearest art store an hour away, and with a little bit of fear invested in the gear that I would need.
Bear Lake has so much to inspire the artistic eye. There are farmlands and pastures, beaches and blue water, mountains of color and snow. Sailboats and cloudy skies. I have so much to explore.
It’s thrilling to be mixing the paint again, like a refreshing breeze. There must be something in this mountain air.
who inspires you?
At the moment I am captivated by the landscapes of Mary Gilkerson. Her work is abstract but very readable and beautiful. You can feel the light hitting the land, it’s warm and full of rich color. Her work is also simple, yet well designed. She has a confidence of brush stroke that I hope to achieve. I'm also trying to own an original landscape painting by Jessica Field but her 5x7 studies sell out in minutes. I'm inspired by her simplified landscapes and pattern filled still life paintings. And Christopher Long is an Alla Prima painter that travels the country in an RV, creating at least one painting a day. His paintings amaze me with their color and expressive sunsets. His work also sells out in minutes, and I would love to have that problem.
I am grateful for the art supporters who have invested in my work, and cheered me on. I feel I have so much to explore and accomplish. I want to paint loose, more abstract. I want the viewer to feel the brush strokes, feel the wind in the hills, and see the movement. I want to show off the light at sunset as it hits the hills.
And ultimately, I aspire to be a gallery painter again.
A quote that keeps me motivated:
“An artist is typically a being that is filled with so much passion, love, or pain for certain lands, people, ideas, or images that all they can do with that overflow is bleed it out by creating. And with this type of art, the energy will be shifted from the depths of them and into the depths of the audience to be felt. It is a dance. A transference. An intimacy. It is to touch and awaken another human in a place they hadn’t known was aching, or sleeping. Both are opened. Both are nourished. Both are transformed.” – Victoria Erickson
To see Lauriann's paintings visit www.BearLakeArt.Etsy.com
Portrait credit: Kirstin Roper